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Community Voices Concern of Voicemail Left by Pine City Administrator

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

A voicemail reportedly left by Pine City Administrator Scott Hildebrand to a union representative has been the subject of community comment during recent meetings. 


On Wednesday, Dec. 6, residents Mary Kay Brautigan and Nancy Mach spoke about the circulating message that they say documents harassment against a city employee. 


"The content of that voicemail is frankly outrageous," Mach told the council. "We are aware that you as council members have heard this message as well... as you are aware this message is angry and full of foul and demeaning language. In your role as managers of the city's professional staff, and because you have been aware of the message since September, you should have taken action against the conduct of the employee."


Mach claimed that nothing had been done.


That voicemail, reportedly left on Sept. 23, was later played by Cheryl Anderson, a Member Resource Specialist for AFSCME Council 65. 


A copy of that voicemail was later provided to Q-Media by a third party. In it, Hildebrand makes comments accusing the employee of being lazy. 


Warning: Strong Language


A transcription of the voicemail was provided to WCMP by Anderson:


"Hey, Cheryl, this Scott Hildebrand with the city of Pine City. Hey, I know this is gonna get me a grievance but, could you please when you send me your email request tomorrow at admin@pinecitymn.gov, send me the dates that you tried to call me cuz, again, I know that we had phones down for one day. Have Mr. XXXXXXXX send me the dates that 

he tried to contact me. 


Again, I'm sorry, my, I, you'll understand once you talk to your predecessor how much I frickin' hate unions. (voice cracks) But he's too F****NG lazy to just pick up the phone and say, "Hey, Mr. Hildebrand, can I please have this paper?" The city has never once denied anybody FMLA. But you have an employee that's SO F****NG LAZY THAT HE CAN'T PICK UP THE PHONE, HE'S GOT TO GO THROUGH HIS UNION? I MEAN, WHAT THE F**K? IS THIS SOMEBODY YOU WOULD WANT WORKING FOR YOU HE'S THAT F****NG LAZY? REALLY?? REALLY?? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? 


I know that's a rant, but it's on my mind. I mean, seriously, all he had to do, it's a small town, say hey, Mr. Hildebrand, could I please have this form? Absolutely, I'll give it to you. That's all I'm asking, okay? 


Anyway, please give me those dates cuz you accused me of he had contacted me several times for two weeks. I never heard it. So, anyway, I'd appreciate it. Admin@pinecitymn.gov. Have a great night. Bye."



Anderson plays the voicemail to the council. Taken by Joe Keyport.


Hildebrand objected to the voicemail being played during the Dec. 6 meeting. He later apologized for what he said, but he told Anderson that his response was because of threats she made.


"My concern is that you had contacted me and threatened me with a grievance over an employee that could have given me a notice. The supervisor did not have notice. The other person did not have notice. To threaten me with a grievance was quite frustrating," said Hildebrand.


Anderson denied making any threat of a grievance. 


Another voicemail left by Hildebrand to Anderson accuses her and the city employee of being "untruthful" about the situation. 


This is not the first time the city has received complaints during a meeting due to comments supposedly made by leadership.


On Nov. 16, resident and business owner Lezlie Sauter was critical of leadership at the city for actions that she said diminished the efforts of groups at Hilltop Park and Art in the Park. She also addressed disrespect during city meetings and noted the circulating voicemail.


In response to the comments, Mayor Carl Pederson said the city will be holding a special closed session in January to discuss the incident. 


Later in the meeting on Dec. 6, Pederson praised Hildebrand for his support of the staff throughout the past year.


"It's always going to be an imperfect world, but hopefully we can figure out how to make it better and continue forward in a positive light. Thank you so much for all your work."



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